Country Pastimes 3: Impromptu farm concerts

Since the demise of foxhunting and hunting with dogs in the countryside, there are thousands of dispossessed toffs wandering around with nothing to do. To compensate we offer here the new shape of country activities.

I was in the garden playing a guitar that attracted the attention of a small bird. It positioned itself overhead in the willow tree and proceeded to drop caterpillars from the leaves onto my head - feeding me as a reward for the music. It made me wonder how much wild or farm animals might like music.

The photographs here evidence an impromptu harmonica concert given to a field of bullocks.
I played No Place Like Hometo the lead bullock, who warmed up gradually and called his mates over for a gander. I positioned myself safely in the hedgerow, well out of reach in case they should mob me in their fervour for the music. Slowly the moshing pit formed as they edged in to listen.

They nodded along to Frere Jacques keeping surprisingly accurate tempo with their tails. It was not until I played Going to Alabama with a Banjo on my Knee that a couple of them started dancing, doing a little shimmy with their front hooves that was very similar to the dance Hank Marvin and the Shadows used to do.

With As the Saints Come Marching On one of them peeled out for a little canter round the field. Yes it was getting hot and the temperature was rising. These wonderful bovines were so appreciative of music and gave me a bigger audience and better reception than I received in the village.

When I played a Blues Train Coming piece a couple of them started mooing, providing startling animal lyrics in accompaniment. I played some music from a 'Simply Red' song and they rushed forwards aggressively, pawing the ground.

Farm animals really enjoy music and even if you play the simplest instrument you will find an appreciative and uncritical audience with sheep, cows, bullocks or horses. Just remember to position yourself carefully out of reach or you may get mobbed.

Flushed with success I performed the set again by the pond on the way home and attracted a crowd of what must have been 100,000 gnats who swirled in time, particularly liking the D#, so much so that they flew into the harmonica, blocking the notes.

No responsibility for any injuries incurred by anyone undertaking this activity are accepted by this author.

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